The Thinking 

“Consensual” Parenting: The Latest in Child Abuse

January 18, 2013


JAMES P. writes:

The simpering lack of manliness described by Wheeler MacPherson in your recent entry is, in my opinion, the product of the leftist dogma that equality is good, and that hierarchy and authority are bad. When applied to the family, this means leftists do not believe that parents should exert authority over their children. Crazy as this may seem, I have seen it in action. Time after time, other parents weakly ask — even plead — for their children to do something, instead of exerting their proper, loving authority and telling them what to do.

The absurd leftist formula is captured in this article about “consensual living,” which advocates that parents and children should have an equal say in family decisions. Some excerpts with my comments:

“Ms. Leavey began to practise consensual living, a set of principles designed to help family members understand each other’s feelings and meet one another’s needs.”

[JP: I understand my son’s feelings very well. Alas, sometimes meeting his needs, as I define them, leads to frustrated feelings on his part.]

“In the consensual living model, father doesn’t know best. Neither does mom. Instead, parents and children are equal partners in family life, according to the principles laid out at”

[JP: Since parents and children are manifestly not equal in any way – physically, emotionally, financially, intellectually – the idea that they should have equal authority is amazingly stupid!  Put me down as a fan of the “benevolent dictatorship” model, not the “consensual living” model.]

Devotees study books such as Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn and Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication, and they consider parenting based on punishment and reward structures to be “coercive.” In contrast, “consensual” parenting is non-hierarchical.

[JP: The assumption that coercion and hierarchy are “bad” and “don’t work” stands in contrast with thousands of years of human history.]

“Lindsay Hollett of Nanaimo, B.C., says that she began to snap less with her husband, Craig, and her 18-month-old daughter, Kahlan, after she adopted the consensual-living mindset about a year ago.”

[JP: Yes, if you totally give up on discipline and let the kid do whatever she wants, things go more smoothly. If you can’t control an 18-month old, you are completely worthless!]

“Echota Keller, a mother in Langley, B.C., says that she creates boundaries with her three-year-old son, Kiernen, while “giving him the space to be his own person.” In daily life, she makes a practice of letting him know what her intentions are, she says, “and asking him if that’s going to work for him.””

[You’re going to let a THREE YEAR OLD decide whether or not he wants to do what you say?  Good luck disciplining him when he’s a teenager.]

Consensual living 101

Core principles

• Everyone’s wants and needs are equally valid, regardless of age.

[WRONG.  At the most basic level, the child’s needs for food, shelter, and love are of course valid. Beyond that, the child’s wants are not valid because the child does not generate the resources (money) needed to satisfy them.  This is the same liberal logic (wants = needs = rights) that is bankrupting western civilization.]

• Children can be trusted to know their own minds and bodies.

[WRONG. Anyone who thinks this has never seen a bone-tired toddler who still doesn’t want to go to sleep.]

• Punishments and rewards are tools of manipulation, unneeded when family members work as a team.

[WRONG. The basic premise is false. The family is not a team of equal partners, and cannot work as such. This is not to say that children cannot learn teamwork, only that the team is not an equal partnership.]

• There is a creative solution that works for everyone.

[WRONG.  Sometimes a child’s desires simply have to be frustrated for his own good.]

• Each family member has a positive intent and desires harmony.

[WRONG.  Unless “positive intent” means “I want something”, and “desires harmony” means “mommy knows I’ll start screaming if I don’t get it”.]

• When all are secure that their needs will be met, they will branch out and help others meet their needs.

[WRONG. I’m gonna decide what the child needs, not him. It is axiomatic that his needs will be met — but not necessarily his wants.]

— Comments —-

Jeanette V. writes:

In this vein, I had a friend many years ago who used to tell her older son when he was acting out to “go to his room and collect himself.”  Also this boy would say to his younger brother the most awful things because he was consumed with jealousy.  My friend would simper, “Well, at least he is expressing himself.”  Of course I was horrified.  This was a woman who had her sons unmarried via sperm donation.  Their male father figure was a therapist they went to see once a week and the oldest boy was heavily medicated. All he really wanted was a normal family with the mother and a father.  This boy obsessively watched 1950s family TV shows when he was growing up.

Unfortunately, I learned that the older boy died suddenly a few weeks ago.  A deadly combination of all the various psychotropic medications he was on.

Laura writes:

 Good grief. That boy was killed by his parents.

Jeanette writes:

He didn’t have “parents” he had a liberal vegetarian mother and a “donor.” He was a very troubled boy as a youth. He met his sperm donor as an adult and the various half siblings he had and that seemed to help him a lot. But he still had a lot of emotional problems which led to a disabling intestinal problem so much so he had to have surgery to have some of his intestine removed. I had no idea he was still on so much medication.

The whole story is such a nightmare. This woman used to call me and lecture me on being too strict of a mother.

Terry Morris writes:

Teamwork eh? Leave it to leftists to turn legitimate principles completely on their heads. Given the choice between right and wrong, good and evil, well-established principles and untested moronic theories, leftists will choose the latter virtually every time. I’ve tried, albeit not too hard, to think of a “team” that doesn’t have a head coach and/or assistant coaches who act in the capacity of authority figures/decision makers, and I can’t think of one. I could narrow it down to “well-functioning” teams, or “championship” teams, for instance, but this would have the effect of creating a great deal more difficulty in finding an example to meet the criteria.

I flatter myself that the overwhelming consensus among people who know our family intimately is that we function very well as a kind of team. THE vital and key component to this is that all of the members of the team recognize who the coach (the governing authority) and his assistant(s) are, as well as their subjection to his ultimate authority in their individual, as well as their collective capacities.

But I might put the model on trial with my business temporarily replacing the “my way or the highway” approach until things begin to fall apart as a result. Ha, ha.

Ain’t democracy a wonderful form of government!

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